General Motors Corp. has pulled together many of the pieces needed to complete government-ordered restructuring, but its board was still expected to decide Saturday to seek bankruptcy protection because there's too much left to do.
Word of the board's decision, being made during two days of meetings, may not be known until Monday, when GM is expected to file for bankruptcy protection in a New York federal court.
The troubled automaker made much progress last week, signing a cost-cutting deal with its main union and announcing it would reopen a closed plant to build the next generation of small fuel-efficient cars in the U.S., rather than China.
But its offer to bondholders to swap $27 billion in unsecured debt for 10 percent of the company's shares fell apart, and the government stepped in with a new offer that includes a Chapter 11 filing, 10 percent of the shares and the chance to buy 15 percent more. The deadline for bondholders to accept that deal was 5 p.m. Saturday, or they could get a lot less.
Early Saturday in Berlin, Germany's finance minister said a plan was approved for Canadian auto parts maker Magna International Inc. to move ahead with a rescue of GM's Opel unit.
GM has yet to confirm it will seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection but scheduled a news conference for Monday in New York.
Chrysler LLC, meanwhile, will likely have to wait until Monday to learn if a bankruptcy judge will let it go forward with its plan to sell most of the company to a group headed by Italy's Fiat and take a big step toward its goal of a speedy exit from Chapter 11.
U.S. Judge Arthur Gonzalez is expected to approve the sale, but it's likely that attorneys for three Indiana state pension and construction funds, which have aggressively opposed the deal, will appeal and possibly force Chrysler to further postpone the closing.
Chrysler says any substantial delay could push Fiat to back out, since the Italian automaker has set a June 15 deadline to wrap up a transaction.
U.S. automakers have been hammered by a brutal combination of a bad economy, a big jump in gas prices last year, and decisions to churn out gas-sucking SUVs at a time when more American consumers were looking for cars that were cheaper to fill up.
GM, with the government's backing and nearly $20 billion in U.S. loans so far, has made more dramatic changes in just a few days than it has in decades. A deal to sell its rugged but inefficient Hummer brand apparently was still being negotiated Saturday.
GM's stock tumbled to the lowest price in the company's 100-year history on Friday, closing at 75 cents. A government plan for GM revealed Thursday would make the shares virtually worthless.
The United Auto Workers' reluctant but overwhelming ratification of concessions on Friday will save GM $1.3 billion per year and bring its labor costs down to those of its Japanese competitors. The new UAW deal freezes wages, ends bonuses and eliminates some noncompetitive work rules.